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  • Writer's pictureSilvia Josten

e-scooter rules: what is permitted and where do fines apply?

Updated: Apr 18

Frau mit Helm fährt mit e-Scooter auf Straße.

Micro electric vehicles such as e-scooters are ideal means of transport for short distances and are often used for the last mile of the journey. They are an essential component of sustainable urban mobility. They are easy to handle, inexpensive to purchase and running costs are minimal. However, the reputation of hip electric kick scooters is increasingly suffering in the public eye. Sometimes there are dicey situations with other road users. Therefore, mutual consideration is required. There are rules for the safe handling of e-scooters. Every user should be familiar with them and apply them. Otherwise, there is a risk of fines and penalties. We list the most important points here.

The most important e-scooter traffic rules in Germany

1. alcohol and drugs

The same rules apply to e-scooter drivers as to car drivers. A blood alcohol level of 0.3 per mill makes you liable to prosecution. At 0.5 to 1.09 per mile, a fine of €500, 1 month driving ban and 2 points in the driving suitability register in Flensburg can be imposed the first time. From 1.1 per mile, there are 3 points, plus a custodial sentence or fine and revocation of the driving licence. If you are under 21 years of age, the limit is 0 per mile, otherwise you could face a fine of €250 and 2 points in Flensburg.

By the way, it is worth taking a look at the general terms and conditions of sharing providers. These were adapted by most companies in 2022. For example, with Tier, Lime or Bolt, the 0-promille limit applies to all users, regardless of age.

2. music to the ears

Driving with impaired hearing will result in a fine of €10.

3. using a mobile phone without a hands-free device

The same rule applies as for cyclists: €55 fine.

4. driving alone

Anyone over the age of 14 in Germany may drive an electric kick scooter. But only one person on each vehicle. Bags may not be hung on the handlebars or placed on the footboard. Mounting of trailers is not allowed because it affects stability while riding.

5. speed - or congestion on the cycle path.

Road-legal e-scooters have a maximum speed of 20 km/h. Cyclists are often faster (23 to 26 km/h). This sometimes results in "elephant races" on shared paths. Overtaking can thus take longer than expected and thus obstruct other road users. Therefore, speeds should be adapted to the surroundings and other road users.

6. overtaking

An e-scooter rider must not interfere with other road users. Side-by-side riding is only permitted if other road users are not obstructed. Overtaking by third parties should always be possible, so the following applies: Ride behind each other when it gets "tight" (fine from €20) and pedestrians always have priority.

Car drivers must also show consideration: When overtaking very small electric vehicles, as well as pedestrians and cyclists, a minimum overtaking distance of 1.5 m in built-up areas and 2 m out of built-up areas applies.

7. hand signals

Changes of direction must be indicated by hand signals, but always keep your hand on the handlebars in bends or difficult situations. But what about accelerating? Hand signals when turning right can be a shaky affair. We advocate turn signals on the electric kick scooter.

8. pavement ban

The pavement is off limits for electric kick scooter. There is a fine of €15 up to €120 for endangering. e-scooters must ride on cycle paths, cycle lanes and protective lanes. If these are not available, the carriageway must be used. On the other hand, pedestrians are not allowed to walk or stand on cycle paths. In parks without cycle paths, the e-scooter must be pushed. A switched-off motor is not sufficient.

If there is a shared footpath and cycle path that may be used by pedestrians, cyclists and e-scooters at the same time, pedestrians always have priority. Therefore, electric kick scooter must exercise caution and drive at walking speed. Pedestrians, on the other hand, are also required to be considerate in the truest sense of the word and to look around.

9. Bicycle zones

Zones especially set up for cyclists may also be used by very small electric vehicles.

10. one-way street

Driving in the wrong direction (unless cyclists are explicitly allowed to drive in the opposite direction) costs €25.

11. parking

e-scooters can be parked where you would park a bicycle. Parking on pavements is allowed if others are not hindered or paths are blocked. Even better: use special parking areas for e-scooters.

12. public transport

The Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport is in favour of taking very small electric vehicles on public transport, but cannot oblige them to do so. It is up to the respective transport company to decide. As a rule, however, the transport of folded e-scooters is possible without any problems.

13. Helmet

Helmets are not compulsory, but recommended. Wearing a helmet considerably reduces the risk of craniocerebral trauma. Electric kick scooter drivers are easily overlooked. But falls can happen even without outside interference: Kerbs, ruts, potholes are bigger dangers than you think.

14. Blind spot

When turning right, lorry and car drivers must allow cyclists and e-scooter riders who want to go straight ahead to pass. But is shoulder vision enough? In addition, cars are only allowed to turn at walking speed. e-scooter riders should avoid blind spots and be mindful.

15. compulsory insurance

Micro electric vehicles must have a valid insurance sticker attached to the vehicle to prove that insurance cover exists. If you drive without insurance cover, you could face a fine of €40, which you would be better off investing directly in an annual policy.

A detailed overview of current fines and penalties including a fine calculator for e-scooters can be found here: Fines info

A compilation of the most important regulations on the use of electric vehicles can be found in our e-Wiki.


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